Written in 1928 by French biographer and novelist Andre Maurois, Climates became a best seller in France and all over Europe. The first 100,000 copies printed of its Russian translation sold out the day they appeared in Moscow bookstores. This magnificently written novel about a double conjugal failure is imbued with subtle yet profound psychological insights of a caliber that arguably rivals Tolstoy's. Here Phillipe Marcenat, an erudite yet conventional industrialist from central France, falls madly in love with and marries the beautiful but unreliable Odile despite his family's disapproval. Soon, Phillipe's possessiveness and jealousy drive her away. Brokenhearted, Phillipe then marries the devoted and sincere Isabelle and promptly inflicts on his new wife the very same woes he endured at the hands of Odile. But Isabelle's integrity and determination to save her marriage adds yet another dimension to this extraordinary work on the dynamics and vicissitudes of love.
This lucid new translation of a novel originally published in 1928 probes the timeless complications, betrayals, and fascinations wrought by love. Coming from a wealthy family that owns a profitable paper mill, young Philippe Marcenat lives a comfortable if empty life in central France, in Limousin, haunted by the notion of a romantic ideal gleaned from a favorite childhood book. While convalescing from bronchitis in Italy, he meets Odile Malet, a flirtatious French beauty from a lower-class family, and is instantly smitten. Despite his family's objections, the two are quickly married. But as Philippe falls into a morass of jealousy and disillusionment, his overbearing behavior drives Odile into the arms of another man. The mismatched couple's inevitable tragedy unfolds in the book's first half, while the latter half, told from the perspective of Philippe's second wife, Isabelle de Cheverny, details her own undaunted efforts to earn the love and respect of her dismissive and unfaithful husband, whose behavior has ironically come to mirror that of Odile. With Sarah Bakewell's (How to Live) introduction providing historical context and insight into the autobiographical nature of Maurois's material, this new edition of Climates marks a valuable reintroduction to a neglected master.